Assessing Occupational Exposure to Surface Contaminants in Kuwaiti Educational Buildings

Abdul-Salam Al-Temeemi (College of Technology, Kuwait)
Jamal Al-Hubail (College of Technology, Kuwait)
Ahmad Al-Khayat (Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Kuwait)

Article ID: 843

Abstract


The prevalence of surface contaminants, such as potentially harmful bacteria, within building environments in the State of Kuwait is not known.
To the authors’ knowledge, this article is the frst of such a report. A total of 342 stool samples were collected from 46 secondary schools to evaluate indoor occurrences of E. coli bacteria within selected lavatory surfaces. After microbiological testing, the results for the spread of the E. coli bacteria were categorized by total count, sampling location dependency, contamination level comparison between genders, and lavatory fxtures (i.e. seat and squat toilets). The results revealed that 7 schools have a bacterial contamination problem, there is cross-contamination between surfaces in the lavatory stalls, the boys’ lavatories were less sanitary than the girls’, and that the squat-style toilets are more contaminated than the seat-style. The results suggest that there is signifcant risk of spread of bacterial infection among students via contaminated hands and surfaces in the lavatory area in some schools. Thus, this study emphasizes the need to improve environmental hygiene and enhanced sanitation in these schools. In addition, conclusions can be drawn as to the effectiveness of the janitorial staff employed by the schools and the effcacy of the cleaning regime used in the lavatories. Furthermore, based on the fndings, there are architectural design consequences as squat-style toilets might be excluded in lavatories designed for schools to be constructed in the future.


Keywords


Surface bacteria; Occupational health; School buildings;Built environment;Sick building syndrome

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.30564/frae.v2i3.843

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